Tuesday, 18 January 2011
CURTAIN CALL My 'heavenly' curtains!
This beautiful Tree of Life design is a copy of a Palampore 18c. wall hanging or bedspread from India - it was copied as Le Grand Genois (Genoa) by Braquenie, famous French fabric designers now owned by Pierre Frey. The cotton is very fine and the printing immaculate, with many charming details, the 'rockwork' at the base, the strange whorls on the trunk, the fanciful and fantastic flowers and the glorious mix of colours. I bought 3 curtains at a Fair a long time ago and used 2 for my dining room window - the third curtain (shown) is hung as a straight panel on the wall opposite. They give me joy every time I look at them. There is a new and lovely book about these pieces called Chintz by Rosemary Crill of the V.and A Museum. See also my reference in the Post 'More about Petworth '- for another good book about French toiles. The 'painted' chintzes were first produced on the Coromandel Coast of India and then shipped along the trade routes to ports in France, England and Holland where they were highly prized and became very fashionable. Later versions (1860s)were made in Genoa and were known as Mezzaras and were designed to be worn over crinoline dresses. All are now rare and valuable and in good condition fetch many hundreds of pounds, if not thousands. I was lucky to find two in a bundle of linen I bought, almost unseen, thirty years ago, and have enjoyed ever since., without realising their rarity and value. A visit to Christies and the Museum at PORT LOUIS, Brittany, has revealed their fascinating history and provenance.